NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Taxes and fees could remain relatively stable in the City of Norfolk in fiscal year 2023.
Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer on Tuesday presented his $1.7 billion proposed fiscal year 2023 budget to City Council.
The budget would not change any tax rates or fees, but would make “large investments” in the city’s workforce, including a 5% raise for employees and raising the minimum wage to $18 an hour for permanent employees and $15 an hour for temporary employees.
Additionally, City Council voted Tuesday, March 22 to provide relief for residents by waiving the auto license fee for the year to help offset higher personal property tax bills. Assessments for used cars have jumped up, leaving many localities to figure out whether — and how — they can provide financial relief to residents.
According to the city, the waiver will save taxpayers approximately $5 million. The average person will save about $36 this year.
Personal property tax bills will be mailed to Norfolk taxpayers in April, with a due date of June 5.
Filer also proposed increasing funding for facilities and infrastructure by $23.1 million. Number one on Filer’s budget presentation Tuesday was “parking garage technology.”
This week, 10 On Your Side highlighted an issue with a majority of cameras in city parking garages that are not functional.
School funding makes up a large portion of the Norfolk budget for 2023.
Filer recommends a $10.6 million increase in local contribution to Norfolk Public Schools over the previous fiscal year. Increases from local and state funding sources for schools would increase the school operating budget by 7.1%.
Earlier this month, the Norfolk School Board approved a proposed budget that would increase the starting salary for new teachers from $47,200 to $49,500, offer five possible signing bonuses for new teachers and give an employee recruitment bonus. It would also increase the starting pay for bus drivers from $15.30 an hour to $17.80 along with offering incentive pay.
Filer is recommending allocating funds to Parks and Recreation, Norfolk Public Libraries (NPL), and the Slover Library to boost local programming.
He also wanted to add money to assist The Center homeless shelter and enhance the Crisis Intervention Team.
$450,000 would be used to create the Business Compliance Unit, which would “ensure consistent enforcement of codes related to compliance with conditional use permit requirements with a primary focus on activities that frequently occur after-hours including nightclubs and late-night entertainment and short-term rental activities,” according to budget documents.
Filer said this budget put the city on track to no longer face a deficit by 2027. Norfolk made drastic cuts to its budget the last few years to survive the pandemic.
Norfolk will hold a public hearing at Granby High School on Wednesday, April 6, at 6 p.m.
A public hearing at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26 will be held only to discuss real estate reassessments.
Visit the Department of Budget and Strategic Planning website for the City Manager’s message, the proposed budget and the March 22 budget presentation to council.